Only 89 days after being drafted by Carlton, with no game experience under his belt, Gibbs was given no choice but to join the leadership group for the club alongside 10 other players, one of which was Marc Murphy.
Murphy had debuted the previous season and with only 13 games to his career the Blues had shocked the young duo.
With two sides to the story, Gibbs believes the decision may have been a “publicity stunt” to give Carlton fans hope and that he “had no choice” but to join the group.
“Look, let’s be honest: It was a bit of a joke, looking back,” Gibbs told Daniel Garb on the Greats with Garby podcast.
“I don’t know the reasons. Denis obviously had his reasons for it, the club had been struggling for a number of years and maybe it was just a publicity stunt for the members to give them a bit of hope.
“Me and Marc Murphy … we were put in the group. I don’t even think we were asked. We were just told ‘you’re going to be in the leadership group’. I’m sure some players didn’t like that, some of the younger guys anyway.
“But from my point of view – and I can talk on behalf of ‘Murph’ as well – we didn’t think we were leaders of the footy club. I hadn’t played a bloody game yet.”
However, former coach Dennis Pagan said that Gibbs was being thrown in the deep end to see if he had the potential to be a future skipper, and that he was asked if he wanted to be apart of the leadership group, contradictory to Gibbs comments.
“He (Gibbs) is quite a unique young man and he’s going to really advance this club in terms of his leadership and the stamp he puts on (it) in the coming years,” Pagan told reporters.
The Crows stunned the Blues to give Bryce Gibbs the perfect farewell game.
— AFL (@AFL) September 13, 2020
Gibbs was pick No.1 in the 2006 draft heading into the navy blue, where he stayed until 2017 before moving over to the Adelaide Crows in 2018.
Yet, Gibbs believes the experience of the club’s decision did offer plenty of benefits to his career.
“What I did get out of it, I was able to go to these leadership meetings, see how they interact with the coach then relay those messages onto the playing group, come up with standards and a set of behaviours,” he said.
“I mean, I didn’t say one word in any of those meetings, but just the experience to sit there and see it all unfold, I certainly got a lot out of it.”
After Carltons disappointing 2007 season, they managed to lure legendary Eagles midfielder Chris Judd over to Princes Park, something Gibbs called a “defining moment” for the club.
Judd played 279 games spanning from 2002-2015, 145 of those being with the Blues.
Gibbs commented on the professionalism, effect and somewhat power Judd had in his move to the Blues, saying that he “flipped the joint on its head from a playing group point of view”.
“We’d go do a session and then the boys would be straight into the eggs benedict with bacon and the sausages – big, greasy meals. Then Juddy would come in with his Bircher (muesli),” Gibbs said.
“It is true in that sense that he would be like: ‘What are you doing? Why are you eating that rubbish? We’re preparing to go to battle here.’ And everyone was like ‘geez, well Juddy said so’. So then next week, there’s 40 Bircher mueslis getting ordered at breakfast.
“That was the effect he had on everyone.”
Following his own final game, Bryce Gibbs swapped his guernsey with long-time friend and teammate Kade Simpson.
Read Gibbs' view on this special moment. 😍
— Carlton FC (@CarltonFC) September 18, 2020